Guest: Paul Fanlund, Editor and Publisher, The Capital Times

I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended. Those are the final words of famed columnist Charles Krauthammer in his A note to readers that appeared in newspapers across the country shortly before his death. After reading his straightforward yet poignant message, certain questions came to mind: What would I say if I were facing death, or what message would I want said about me after I’m gone? How much control do I have?

On this program, Paul Fanlund, editor and publisher of The Capital Times, takes on these questions and more as he discusses the various ways people choose to have their lives described after they’ve died. More people are taking control of their final words by writing their obituary in advance. Others choose to turn the task over to others. Should you write your own obituary, or if not you, who should write it? And, if there is a funeral or memorial service, how will you be eulogized?

This program provides no solid answers to the questions posed but opens the doors of your imagination to think about the many ways the essence of who you are can be memorialized and celebrated.

Coming soon: The 2nd annual Capital Times Ideas Fest September 28, 29 at the Memorial Union. Tickets and additional details can be found online.


Guests:  Hal Blotner, caregiver spokesman; Rebecca DeBuhr, Program Director and Melissa Theisen, Development Director, Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin

Now into his 90’s, Hal Blotner’s mind remains sharp and peppered with a touch of wit. His wife, Suzanne, was not as fortunate. She died in 2014 from Alzheimer’s disease, a disease that affects more than 110,000 Wisconsin families. As with all families, the lives of Hal Blotner and his three sons changed when Alzheimer’s disease entered their family circle. First and foremost, they cared for Suzanne and turned to the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin to help guide them as they began this new journey. Secondly, they decided to do something to help others who were suddenly experiencing the role of caregivers with little knowledge or training about what that would entail.

On this program, Hal Blotner shares his story and how he and his family took it public ten years ago when they formed “Team Blotner” and participated in the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance’s Alzheimer’s Walk. Celebrating their 10th anniversary this year, the Blotners will be flying into Madison from all over the country to join in this year’s Walk in Dane County on Saturday, September 29, at Warner Park.

The Alliance hosts Walks in seven counties in south central Wisconsin each fall. For a complete listing and how to get involved, go to

Joining Hal Blotner are Rebecca DeBuhr, ADAW Program Director, who coordinates educational programs, support groups, care consultations and other outreach services in some of Wisconsin’s underserved rural areas, and Melissa Thiesen, ADAW Development Director, who facilitates the Walks and events such as the upcoming Charity Golf Tournament to benefit the ADAW, August 13 at Maple Bluff Country Club.


Guest:  Loren Ekroth, Ph.D., author, communications coach, consultant and speaker

Has not knowing what to say stopped you from walking into a room full of people, from meeting people whom you might enjoy or who could have a positive influence on your life? Like any other skill, becoming comfortable in conversations, being able to participate in intelligent talk and open discussions doesn’t just happen. It takes a level of mastery. A skilled conversationalist practices and understands the function of listening, when small talk is appropriate and how to overcome nervousness or shyness when talking to people.

On this program, Loren Ekroth, Ph.D., author and publisher of the free newsletter, “Better Conversations,” communication coach, consultant and speaker to business and government agencies, shares his expertise on what it takes to be a great conversationalist. How can I use conversation to connect with someone I don’t know? What do I say next? And how do I get a second chance to make a first impression? Hear the answers to these questions and more.

To take the Conversation Mastery Test and Small Talk Scorecard, go to


Guests:  Michael and Toya Johnson

Taking a break from packing boxes in anticipation of their move to Cincinnati, one of Madison’s “power couples,” Toya and Michael Johnson, stopped by the Mid-West Family Broadcasting studios to share special memories from their almost nine years in Madison and pass on some final thoughts.

Michael Johnson was an outspoken voice for at-risk youth as president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County increasing the number of children served from 1,800 to 8,000 and growing its donor base from 1,800 to 20,000 individuals. He is leaving Madison to become president and CEO of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, the sixth largest in the country, which serves 10 counties in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.

Toya Johnson has always had a passion for working to better the lives of people, and she did just that as Director of Community Impact – Self-Reliance & Independence at United Way of Dane County. She leaves this position to establish a new home with Michael and their three children in Cincinnati. “I am outgoing, loyal, compassionate, ambitious, and optimistic,” says Toya. “These characteristics enable me to be the best me that I can be and a champion for those who need one. My purpose is to serve.” And that Toya Johnson intends to do – once her family is settled into their new life in Cincinnati.

The couple met at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities where Toya obtained a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. Together they went on to earn Master’s Degrees in Business Administration, and the rest is history – much of what you will hear on this program.


Guest: Roberta Gassman….

Roberta Gassman was the recipient of this year’s Legacy Award from the Wisconsin Women in Government, an award which honors a woman who has made significant professional contributions throughout her career to local, state, and/or national government.

Roberta Gassman’s career has spanned over 46 years and has taken her from working with teens and elderly as a social worker to key roles in the public arena – most notably serving as Secretary of Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development in the Doyle Administration and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training at the U.S. Department of Labor in the Obama Administration.

Today, Roberta Gassman has taken her experience into the academic setting where she is a Senior Fellow with the UW-Madison School of Social Work teaching an advanced graduate course on Influencing Political Systems for Social Change. She is also is on the faculty of the UW-Madison Continuing Studies Wisconsin Certified Public Manager Program.

On this program, Roberta Gassman reflects on her own career path, what it is like to work in the public arena in high-profile positions, and she shares her perspective on the wave of women moving from supporting issues and policies to running for elected office and winning. Are we entering a new era? The answer is in the voting.